Due to the latent nature of many auto accident injuries, it’s always a good idea to see a healthcare provider after you’ve been involved in an accident even if you don’t require emergency care or aren’t noticing any immediate symptoms.
Auto injury symptoms can sometimes take days to begin to manifest. Many clinics that specialize in auto accident injuries can employ diagnostic imaging technology to find musculoskeletal injuries, and the sooner these injuries are worked on, the quicker and more effective the recovery will be.
Common Auto Accident Injuries
Most auto accidents don’t result in broken limbs, open wounds, or fatal brain trauma; many of them are irritating inconveniences that require insurance exchanges and some words with the police.
However, after all is said and done, many people start to notice problems both physically and mentally.
This results from the neck being jolted back and forth like a whip. It usually results from a rear-end collision – the most common auto accident.
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Soreness in the muscles and arms
- Difficulty concentrating (brain fog)
- Blurry vision
These include any injuries to the muscles, ligaments, joints, and nerves.
Auto accidents, even minor ones, can put a major strain on your musculoskeletal system. Tears and sprains can happen quite easily, even at speeds as low as 15 miles per hour.
Following an accident, people often begin to experience:
- Pain and tension in the muscles and tendons
- Ligament sprains
- Problems in the neck and back
- Limited mobility
- A general sense of soreness in the body
Herniated Disc Syndrome
The vertebrae of the spine are separated by discs – small structures that act as cushions, protecting the vertebrae from knocking against each other as you move.
Discs are made up of two basic components – the soft inner nucleus and the hard outer shell.
A herniated disc – sometimes referred to as a “slipped disc” – happens when force or pressure pushes a portion of the inner nucleus out via a tear in the outer shell, where it then presses up against one or more nerves in the spine.
Herniated discs can either result in no symptoms, or they can be debilitating. Symptoms include:
- Pain in the area of the herniated disc that starts off mild and gradually builds in intensity
- Shooting pain down an arm or leg
- Limited mobility (turning the head or body results in intense pain)
This is a form of brain damage that results from the brain suddenly changing shape in the skull as a result of sudden acceleration or deceleration. This change in brain shape is enough to tear brain matter and damage brain cells. It also typically causes metabolic and chemical changes to occur, which interrupt signals between cell neurons.
- Lack of mental clarity, confusion
- Inability to answer questions, or a delayed response to questions
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Visual disturbances (seeing stars)
- Disturbances in taste and smell (things can taste or smell metallic or sour)
- Slurred speech
- Sudden changes in personality (depression, impulsivity, anger issues)
Common Auto Accidents That Cause These Injuries
These are the most common auto accidents. They typically result from a car suddenly slowing down or breaking, causing the following car to make an impact with their bumper. Other times, the driver behind is following too closely without paying attention to upcoming traffic.
Commonly called a “T-bone”, side-impact collisions occur when a car impacts the side of another vehicle, or a vehicle makes a side-impact with a fixed object.
Single-car collisions involve a single vehicle crashing into a fire hydrant, tree, pole, lamp post, or similar object.
Auto Accident Injury Treatment
Many healthcare providers specialize in treating the auto injuries described above. This treatment often comes in the form of chiropractic care and physical therapy.
First, the right diagnosis has to be made. Auto accident injury doctors start with a series of physical and neurological tests, looking for muscle weaknesses, misalignments in posture, injuries to the joints and spine, and brain trauma.
More in-depth diagnostics can involve MRIs and digital x-rays to get a visual representation of your injuries.
Chiropractic care involves a series of chiropractic adjustments aimed at:
- Realigning the spine
- Improving joint function
- Reducing inflammation
- Increasing range of motion
- Reducing pain
Chiropractic adjustments usually result in pain reduction almost immediately – many patients feel improvements after a single adjustment, with increased energy levels and range of motion.
On-going chiropractic care can result in long-lasting benefits and expedite recovery.
Physical therapy usually involves various exercises and stretches aimed at increasing muscle strength and blood flow.
Medical bracing material can also be worn throughout the treatment plan. Bracing material fits comfortably underneath clothing and helps stabilize muscles and joints, reduce pain and inflammation, and prevent re-injury.
What Do Chiropractic Adjustments Feel Like?
Many people have reservations about seeing a chiropractor. This can be especially true for those who are suffering from auto accident injuries. There’s the fear of adjustments causing more pain on top of the suffering they’re already dealing with.
The truth is, professional chiropractic adjustments don’t hurt – the ultimate result is the alleviation of pain and setting the body back into its proper alignment.
There may be some minor discomfort in the form of pressure or tension, but the vast majority of chiropractic adjustments result in the alleviation of pain and an increase in energy levels and mobility.
If you’ve ever had your back popped, you know it’s a very pleasant experience that can relieve a lot of tension and stress. Chiropractic adjustments are a medically therapeutic version of this.
You are likely to hear some cracking and popping sounds. No, this isn’t your bones breaking. The popping sound is actually the result of gases being released from your joints.
However, popping sounds don’t always happen. That’s okay – it is not an indicator that the adjustment hasn’t worked.
What To Expect After a Chiropractic Adjustment
Most people notice relief from pain immediately following an adjustment. There is also a sense of increased energy, as well as improvements in mobility and mental clarity.
Over time, inflammation starts to die down and mental and physical activity becomes easier.
Sometimes people can begin to feel a sense of mild soreness similar to what one would feel after a good workout. This is because, in a sense, your body has undergone a workout; it can take a lot for the body to be set in its proper alignment.
When this happens, it’s just a matter of getting enough rest, drinking enough water, and letting your body heal.